A 47-year old Black man was shot and killed by a Columbus police officer as he emerged from the garage of a home where he was staying as a guest. Andre Maurice Hill was holding a cellphone as he exited the garage, and within seconds was shot by a police officer responding to a complaint about a suspicious vehicle. Hill was later found to be unarmed.
At 1:30 a.m. on December 22, police received a report of an SUV in a residential neighborhood near the Ohio State University campus. The vehicle had been parked in the vicinity and running off and on for the past half hour.
In a video, two officers approach the garage. The police shine a flashlight into the garage, and Hill slowly approaches holding his cellphone. Shots then ring out. Hill falls, and it is only at this point that audio is recorded. Officer Adam Coy, the shooter, then tells Hill to roll onto his stomach and keep his hands to his side. As he pats down the man groaning in pain, Coy tells him, “Don’t move, dude.”
After the shooting, the police officers did not immediately call for medical assistance for Hill. He was pronounced dead an hour later at OhioHealth Riverside Methodist Hospital.
The shooting took place just over two weeks since the December 4 killing of another Black man by police. Casey Goodson, 23, was fatally wounded after entering his grandmother’s home. Goodson’s funeral was held the same day as Hill’s killing.
Body Cameras Not Activated
Coy’s body camera was not activated until after the gun was fired. That is a departmental policy violation. A video of the incident does exist because the body cam includes a feature capturing the 60 seconds before it is turned on. However, audio is not part of this feature.
Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther said if a police officer was not going to turn on their body cam, they cannot serve and protect the people of Columbus.
He asked the Chief of Police to relieve the officer from duty and turn in his gun and badge. Police Chief Thomas Quinlan later stated that Coy engaged in an act of “senseless violence.” He also stated that Coy required immediate termination for not turning on the body camera or rendering aid to Hill.
No Mention of Criminal Activity
Quinlan later noted that the dispatcher merely asked the officers to check out a suspicious vehicle, and did not mention any criminal activity.
The man who made the 911 call came forward after the shooting and said he only called because the car’s engine was waking him up as it was being turned on and off. He said after he called 911, the SUV was moved into the garage a few doors down.
When law enforcement arrived, he told them where the driver had taken the car. The neighbor said he was standing in his yard when he heard a series of popping noises. He said there were no screams, and he wondered, “What the hell is going on out here?”
Two departmental charges of critical misconduct were filed against Coy, a 19-year veteran. This is far from the first time Coy engaged in violent conduct on the job. In 2015, he was caught on video bashing the head of a driver he had stopped into the car’s hood four times. He received a 160-hour suspension for force “excessive to the situation.”